2010 is underway and the last few weeks flew by with all sorts of things happening. I’ll start by recapping this past weekend and then go back and share my adventures during the past month. Enjoy!
Last weekend was a blast! My friend and I traveled up to Julian to play in the snow that recently hit the mountains in San Diego County following the massive rain storm. We stayed at the Pine Hills Lodge and went sledding, hiking and enjoyed the good home-style food and famous apple pie. January Recap: I raced the Sun Strides Foundation San Diego Resolution Run 5K on 1/9. I got there at 3:45 a.m. to help mark the course. I drove and ran around Mission Bay and Fiesta Island laying down gypsum arrows on the paths, sidewalks and roads before the sun came up. Then I switched into race mode for the 5K event. I ran a personal best of 18:27 (5:57 pace) and finished 9th overall, 5th in my age group.
I dedicated my run to Michael de Sosa, who I met last year course marking the Sun Strides events. He lost his battle to depression and took his own life on Christmas Eve this year. All runners wore an orange ribbon on our race bibs for him.
The next day I met my buddies, Austin, Jim and Jessi, at Mission Trails for a couple hours of mountain biking to spin out my legs. On Monday night, I hosted the High Voltage workout and then ran 7 miles the next morning with a MeetUp trail running group hosted by my buddy, Paul, and Dr. Runco from the San Diego Running Institute.
The run was great, but afterward I was super dizzy and had a headache while my chest and stomach were in knots. I ended up puking for the next couple days from a nasty stomach bug. I couldn’t eat, lost a bunch of weight, and was miserable. I was bummed I had to bail on the trip to Bishop, CA for Austin’s birthday. I was down and out until the end of the weekend, so I rested, studied for the CSCS exam and tried out my new camera:
I also exchanged my Sanyo Xacti camera for the Pentax Optio W80 this week because the still-image quality from the Pentax is far superior (12.1mpx) to the Sanyo (9mpx). They both shoot the same HD video quality and are the same price, so it was a “no brainer” for the adventure photos I shoot. This is also important as I recently worked out an agreement with an art shop in my hometown to sell prints and greeting cards of my photos! I’m so thrilled to have this opportunity. Now I’m looking into printing and shipping details to make it happen.
The rest of the month has been mellow with training. I’ve done mostly strength and conditioning workouts and a 30 minute interval session with Airey on the indoor trainer. I’m switching my bike from tri back to road setup for the Grand Fondo San Diego in March.
This weekend I am course marking and racing the Lake Hodges 5K and attending the Endurance Sports Awards. Stoked! Stay tuned for an event recap next week – in February.
Happy New Year! Thank you all for joining me in 2009. My year would not have been a success without your support, and I can promise you an exciting 2010 with new challenges, higher peaks, epic runs, beautiful photos, video and, of course, blogs!
2009 Review I crushed my “A” race and had fun doing it. How? I strategically designed a periodized training schedule to peak with a sub 24-hour attempt at The Vermont 100 Endurance Run (VT100) in July, rest in late summer/early fall and then peak again late in the season with a back-to-back race weekend.
Next I launched the build phase for the VT100 training in April with the Carlsbad 5000 followed by a 26-mile run home from the race. Then I kicked off May with back-to-back races at the Black Mountain Summit 7K Trail Run and a PR at the OC Marathon (3:28) the very next day. After rehabilitating an overuse hip injury (go figure?), I ran the San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon and peaked in my training with the San Bernardino Traverse and a weekend at altitude in the Sierra Nevada.
The Vermont 100 Endurance Run in mid-July was flawless; I had the best race of my career and finished in 21:57, well under my sub 24-hour goal. Better than that was sharing the experience with my family.
The season ended with an “endurance challenge” weekend of back-to-back races in December: the North Face Endurance Challenge 50K in San Francisco on Saturday and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon – Las Vegas on Sunday.
The holidays with my family were wonderful. Meeting and spending quality time with my new twin nieces was amazing. The downtime also afforded me the opportunity to set goals for 2010. So without further ado…
My calendar isn’t as racing focused this year, but rest assured that I have a couple EPIC events in the works. My big event for the year is staged for early summer (June/July) and will require months of training and logistics. It will also incorporate a fundraising campaign. I will unveil my official plans as forces align and a few more details are worked out.
The mountains are calling my name, so I plan to climb California 14ers this year. As you may remember, I struggled with route-finding and acclimating last year so I’m going to attempt to conquer my nemesis--Palisades Traverse--again, and try to tick a few others off the list too.
I’m also actively pursuing a credential from the National Strength and Conditioning Association to become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. I want to help more athletes achieve their goals while I increase my value in the industry and grow in my own training.
2010 is here and it will be what we make of it. So let’s make it the best year possible!
It was raining when my dad, brother and I made our way from the bed and breakfast to the start/finish area at 3 a.m. for the pre-race check-in, so I started with my headlamp, rain shell and hydration pack. We were off and running at 4 a.m. toward the first crew-accessible aid station, 21 miles into the race, where my parents; my brother, Steve; my best friend, John; his wife, Patty; and my friend, Pete, were waiting for me.
The best crew ever!
The first section was dark in the forest on muddy trail a where I met and chatted with Cheryl, a runner from New York attempting her first 100. We had connected on
Twitter the week before. The rain was forecasted to stop in the early afternoon, but actually let up just as daylight broke and we switched off our headlamps. It took awhile for me to wake up and warm up, but once I did, I took off the rain shell and arm warmers and settled into a comfortable pace. About this time,
The Vermont 100 and Moonlight 50/75 Endurance Ride horses and their riders began to overtake the runners. It turns out, the Vermont 100 is the only ultramarathon that continues to combine horses and runners. They had a later start for their 100-mile trek, and it was really cool to share the trail with them.
According to my crew, John apparently said, “I love your horse!” to every horse/rider that went by that day.
I cruised into the first aid station, mile 21, at 8:30 a.m. averaging a mid-12-minute mile and was greeted by my amazing support crew. They had everything set up under our own tent so I sat down, changed my shoes and socks, ate and drank a little, and set off feeling fresh for the next section.
NASCAR pit crews would be jealous of our speed and efficiency
Nine miles later I came through the check point at Stage Road and was again greeted by my rockstar crew. It was getting hotter out and the next section was 17 miles, so I decided to skip the shoe/sock change and just get back on the trail with a full hydration pack. I quickly saw this was a good call because as soon as we exited the aid station, we crossed a marsh and my feet were instantly soaked.
This 17-mile section was hot with some seriously steep climbs. During this time, my watch battery died. I also discovered I was in 98th place overall at mile 43.5, so I just put my head down and did work. I power walked the steep stuff and actually passed a bunch of folks before rolling into the next aid station, Camp 10 Bear, at mile 47.2 for medical weigh-ins. I had dropped 5 pounds but wasn’t worried about it because I was feeling fine and knew I was nearly halfway done with the race.
I calculated my pace and projected finish time when I reached the 50-mile mark at 10 hours 40 minutes. It was then that I first realized a sub-22 hour finish was possible. I didn’t actually believe it at first, so I did the math again. That’s when I kicked a stick on the trail and the sharp end lifted my big toenail off. I felt it go with a sharp pain, but there wasn’t any pain after it happened. I was upset that I let myself get distracted over the numbers, so I decided not to worry about my pace anymore and just do work.
I caught up with a runner named Drew from the Lake Placid area, and we cruised at a similar pace for the next big chunk of the race. This section was difficult with steep climbs and long quad-quivering descents—one after the next. My pace slowed from the mid-12 minute range to a 13-minute-mile pace. We reached Tracer Brook (mile 57) at 4:10 p.m. and passed through Margaritaville (mile 62) at 5:30 p.m. My crew was at each stop with all my gear and food set up perfectly. They got me in-and-out of each stop with fresh shoes/socks, ice cold drink in my hydration pack and a big smile on my face
It's all about staying positive in a race this long. And drinking rootbeer
Next I caught up to a 52-year-old runner from Pennsylvania named Marc, who had run a sub-10 hour split on the first half of the race. His quick start had caught up to him in the form of stomach nausea, but he was still strong enough to run with me for the next portion of the race. We shared some quality conversation and navigated one of the longest and most painful descents before reaching Camp 10 Bear at mile 70.1 for medical weigh-ins. I had gained a pound during the previous 30 miles which was a sign I was drinking more. I felt really good at this point because I knew the hardest of the work was done and I was going to be in the company of my pacers for the final 30 miles.
left to right: Steve, me, John
John joined me from mile 70.1 to mile 77. We ran as the sun was setting, passed by some beautiful homes, and ran a series of perfectly groomed trails as we passed runner after runner. Soon, the thick forest canopy blocked all the remaining daylight, and we switched on our headlamps. I had John run two to three steps ahead of me so I could watch his footwork and follow his line, because my reaction time was slower than his from the fatigue and my eyes were adjusting to the night running.
Shoe/sock change after 7 miles with John
John and I finished up together at the Spirit of 76 aid station (mile 77) at 8:45 p.m. and his wife, Patty, took over for the next section. It was now much darker out so I had Patty run in front of me, like John did, for the trail sections but we primarily ran dirt roads together. In fact, this section was the flattest section of the day so we capitalized on it by running faster. We actually recorded a few sub-9 minute miles and a few sub-10 minute miles during our run together while passing runner after runner. We reached Bill’s aid station at 11:15 p.m. (mile 88.6) where I weighed in again. Then my brother took over as pacer for the final section.
Heading out to run with Patty
Steve and I headed out and covered some ground before I started inquiring about our pace and projected finishing time. My brain was too fried to do the math so I handed over my pace chart that I had been carrying all day. Steve calculated that a sub-22 hour finish was possible, if we pushed hard. My legs felt fine, and I still had plenty left in the tank to burn. So we set the intention to empty the tank and make it happen. We actually recorded my fastest mile split of the day, an 8:17 mile at mile 92, while passing runners and making our way closer and closer to the finish line in Silver Hill Meadow. This final section definitely felt like forever, but once we heard the voices and sounds from the finish area with minutes to spare before the sub-22 hour mark, we knew we made it.
I crossed the finish line unofficially at 21:55:23 and officially at 21:57:08 which was just before 2 a.m. on Sunday, July 19. According to the results, my effort was good for 30th place overall and 5th in my age group. I smashed my PR by 2.5 hours and I'm thrilled that my months of hard work came together and brought my family and friends together to share such a unique and exciting experience.
We made it just in time!
Thank you all for the messages, comments, emails, phone calls and positive vibes you sent my way. With only eight toenails remaining, soon to be seven, I'm already being asked what's next. For now, it’s recovery, but next up is another attempt at the Palisades Traverse in August. Thanks for joining me for another of life’s great adventures!
Post-race celebration on the CT River. I'm on a boat!
Tomorrow my crew and I go to Vermont, check in to the bed and breakfast and then to the start/finish area of the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run for the medical check, weigh-in and pre-race meeting. After that, well get an early dinner and go to sleep as early as possible.
Saturday the alarm goes off at 2 a.m. and the day begins. The forecast is calling for a 70% chance of rain with 75% humidity in early morning but letting up later in the day. The race starts at 4 a.m. There are 9 aid stations that are crew accessible and since the race website doesnt offer a race tracking option, my crew will post updates to http://twitter.com/TobyGuilltte when there is cell service.
Thank you all for the positive energy you've been sending my way. I'm feeling it! I'll be sure to publish the results on Sunday
The Palisades Traverse is a classic alpine ridge traverse that connects the summits of five of California's fourteen thousand foot peaks. My old climbing partner Gil and I attempted the route in October of 2007 and were snowed out during the night at the base of (what we thought was) Thunderbolt Peak (14,003').
Over the holiday weekend, me and my friends Jake and Kam were eager to give it a shot. We hit the road on Thursday around 2 p.m. and made the long drive up to Bishop. We tried to leave early enough but ended up hitting the holiday weekend traffic and arriving at South Lake trail head parking lot around 10 p.m. We set up our bivy in the parking lot and were asleep by 11 p.m. and two hours later, the alarm sounded and we were gearing up to hit the trail.
We were on the trail by 2:30 a.m. on Friday morning for the ~8-mile approach via Bishop Pass trail. We moved quickly through the darkness guided by the light of our headlamps, only making quick stops to shed/add layers and eat snacks. We hit some snow patches above 11,000 and reached Bishop Pass and topped off our water from a mountain stream in Dusy Basin before the ascent of what we thought was Thunderbolt Peak
On the way up, we negotiated some fourth/fifth-class scrambling/climbing while one of our team members started to suffer from the altitude. We reached the first peak behind schedule, only to discover we were on the summit of Mount Agassiz (13,899), one of the twenty highest peaks of California. From there, we could see across to Thunderbolt Peak, where we were supposed to be.
From right to left: Thunderbolt Peak, Starlight Peak, North Palisade, Polemonium Peak, Mt Sill
So behind schedule and off-route, we decided to pull the plug and head back to San Diego. Our down-climb was a blast, as we glissaded a 1000 patch of snow which boosted our morale while saving time and energy which we really needed. We got back to the car at 6:30 p.m. making for a 16-hour day on our feet and then took on the 6-hour drive home after dinner in Bishop to arrive back in San Diego at 3 a.m. on Saturday. ~36 hours from sea level to 13,899 and back--what a trip!
I think its pretty funny that we climbed the wrong mountain and in all honesty, Im glad we did. When I saw with my own eyes the magnitude of this route, I think it would have taken too much out of me to this close to the Vermont 100, my A race for the season. So with that, I had a great time with my friends and got a killer workout at altitude amongst some of the most beautiful scenery my eyes have ever seen. Kam and I are already planning our next attempt for August and this time, we plan to bivy at the base of the real Thunderbolt Peak on Day 1 and then take on the full route and the descent on Day 2. More details on that in late July.
Next up, the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run on 7/18 7/19 I fly out Thursday to celebrate my 26th birthday with family and friends this weekend and then make my way up north to get ready to race. Ill post updates on the go and a recap here following the event. Thanks again for joining me on all these adventures!
On Friday I drove up to the San Bernardino National Forest to take on the San Bernardino Traverse / 9 Peak Challenge as my final peak training weekend for the Vermont 100 Endurance Run . I checked in at the ranger station, cached a jug of water at the Angelus Oaks trailhead (5,960), set up camp at the Vivian Creek trailhead (6,080) and prepped my gear. I decided to go with a 2 a.m. start time to try and reach the summit of San Gorgonio for sunrise, so I slept at 7:30 p.m. and set my alarm set for 1 a.m.
I never sleep well at altitude, and this time was no different. After quickly breaking down my camp, I geared up at my car and was on the trail by 2 a.m. for a 5,400 ascent up the 8-mile trail to the peak of [Mount San Gorgonio |
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Gorgonio_Mountain], the highest peak in Southern California (11,500). My pace was fast because I was convinced I was going to be mauled by a mountain lion or bear, so I wanted to reach higher altitude where I know they dont travel often because there isnt an abundance of food. On the way up, the only wildlife I encountered (thankfully) was a little scorpion and a sizable spider. Besides that, when I got above the tree line, I was greeted with an unreal view of the crescent moonso big and close, it felt like I could reach out and touch it.
Above the tree line, the wind gusts picked up speed, and I started to get cold. That was when I noticed the distant glow of a headlamp on the trail above. Humans! I overtook the pair of hikers in the final half mile before the summit. One was in really bad shape from the altitude. He was resting his head on his trekking pole when I greeted him. His speech was slurred, and he struggled to complete coherent sentences. His buddy was in better shape and wanted to chat but I was freezing at this point and told him I had to keep moving. Heres a video of the final stretch to the top:
I thought that watching the sun rise from the highest point in southern California was going to be a treat but it was painfully cold at this point with powerful wind gusts cutting right through my clothes and chilling my sweat. So with one peak down and eight to go, I set off to the west across the ridge of the San Bernardino mountain range.
Once the sun got high enough, it was comfortable. Well, as comfortable as running at 10,000+ feet above sea level can get :). I ran the flats and downhills, but walked the uphills to keep some energy in the bank for the long day ahead.
This was pretty much the story for the run across the ridge, until I accidentally took a wrong turn and ran a half-mile in the wrong direction. Luckily, I crossed paths with a group of backpackers. Our conversation helped me determine where I went wrong, so I backtracked--only adding an additional mile to my day.
Aside from this group, I was alone on the ridge until the descent to Angelus Oaks after San Bernardino peak. My knees started to ache on the long and technical descent, so I was excited and relieved to reach the trailhead just after 10 a.m., having just completed the 26-mile San Bernardino Traverse / 9 Peak Challenge in under 8.5 hours (actually traveling 27 miles) and gaining more than 10,000 feet according to my Gamin data.
But my day was far from over, so I filled up my hydration reservoir with the water cache I left the day before and ran to highway 38. Most folks who attempt the traverse shuttle their cars, leaving one at each trailhead. But I traveled solo, so 10 miles separated me from my car at the Vivian Creek trailhead. Running this section of the 38 would have been too dangerous because it is a winding mountain road with little to no shoulder, so I hitched a ride with a local and got dropped of 5 miles later at the turnoff for Forest Falls.
With 27 extreme miles and well over 10,000 of gain already under my legs, I had five more miles of uphill to travel with 1,400 to gain. My Achilles tendon was inflamed from the 10+ times I rolled my ankle earlier so I walked the whole way, determined to suffer through it. I took a break at the Elkhorn general store and treated myself to a root beer (my favorite ultrarunning beverage) and was back to my car at the trailhead before noon. The 32-mile adventure took roughly 10 hours to complete.
I went straight into the mountain stream and soaked my throbbing feet in the crystal-clear, cold mountain slow melt while lying on a warm rock in the sun. After that, I was feeling good to go, so I packed up my car and drove back to San Diego. I treated myself to a huge fish burrito and downed a few tasty beers for dinner
The hardest of the work is done, so now its time to recover, maintain, taper, and get super organized mentally and logistically for the VT100 on 7/18 7/19! My trip back east starts in a little over two weeks, and I feel like Im on target for a solid performance on race day!
Last week I focused on cross-training to give my hip rest while maintaining fitness leading up to my peak in training. On Friday morning, I went for a 3-mile test run to see if my hip was good to go for the weekend. My hip and legs felt great so I geared up for a big training weekend in Warner Springs and hit the road with my buddy, Austin.
We checked into Warner Springs Ranch , then Austin dropped me off at the Pacific Crest Trail trailhead on the north side of town at 4 p.m. I took off running north toward Indian Flats campground with the intention of turning around 8 miles in. I passed a group of hikers who were heading down when I was on my way up. The run was beautiful and the trail was in great condition. It climbed 1,500 feet up to 4,444 feet above sea level, where I actually reconnected with a portion of the trail that I ran in March.
Naturally, the descent was faster but I ran out of daylight by the time I caught up to the group of hikers. I chatted with these guys for a bit, and they were a fun bunch. It turns out they are all school teachers who hike together and are attempting to do the whole PCT in sections gradually over the years!
With my headlamp guiding the way, I finished up the last 1.5 miles along the dark road back to the ranch for 17.5 milesa total of 20.5 miles for the day. After my recovery routine, I prepped my gear for an early wake up and another long run the next day.
On Saturday morning I was running by 6:30 a.m. and headed south to the PCT intersection on the 79. From there, I set off into the woods along a stream and climbed up to a clearing where I entered a wide-open rolling meadow that spanned as far as the eye could see. I was averaging a comfortable 5 miles per hour with a plan to turn around after four hours or 20 miles. At mile 6.5, I crossed paths with the same group of hikers from the evening before! They were completing the Barrel Springs to Warner Springs section of the PCT. Heres a picture of their group:
I continued on and reached Barrel Springs in two hours. I noted the six jugs of water in the shade under a tree and planned to refill my hydration pack on my return trip. From here the trail climbed for the next hour and then continued above San Felipe Road until my turn around point, four hours in. Click here to see where I was .
I bring my iPhone along on these outings because of its lightweight camera, the GPS functionality and, of course, the phone in case of emergencies--but I seldom ever get service in the remote areas I run. So it was interesting when at the turn around point in my run, I randomly got a text from my brother! I took a photo of the amazing view of the valley below me and sent it to him with the subject line, Wish you were here: mile 20 of 40!
Next I called my parents, who were boating on the river in our home town. After checking in with them, I was excited to begin the 20-mile run back to Warner Springs and set off on my way. The next two hours were uneventful and I comfortably cruised into Barrel Springs a little ahead of schedule because of the major descent out of the San Felipe Hills. I topped of my hydration reservoir and set out in the heat of the day for the final two hours.
My legs stayed strong for the entire eight hours, and my hip was fine too. Its only a little sore now after the fact, but I got back to Warner Springs right on schedule and was very pleased with my first of two peak training weekends.
This weekend Im off to the mountains for my final peak training weekend and a solo car-to-car attempt at the
San Bernardino Traverse
. The traditional route is a challenging day-hike with a car at both the start and finish, but I will only have one car and want to run as much as possible.
Ill be going in reverse order, starting with San Gorgonio via Vivian Creek trail to get the monster 8-mile climb up to 11,500 feet done as my warm up, then run all nine peaks along the ridge above 10,000 feet, down from San Bernardino peak to Angelus Oaks, where Ill have cached water the day before. Then Ill finish off the final 10 miles on the road (between yellow markers on map) back to my car at the Vivian Creek trailhead. Heres a map for a better idea .
I ran the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon while wearing a POV (point-of-view) camera to film the race and somehow managed to run the race in under 4 hours, with a negative split of 10 minutes. This was my first major marathon, so I had never run with so many people before. It was like the entire San Diego endurance sports community was either out running the race or cheering from somewhere along the way. It was powerful stuff, and I had a blast out there. Here's a shot of my buddies in their post-race pose-down (three no-longer-marathon virgins in this picture):
The 230+ miles I logged in Maywhich included a couple road marathons and tons of hilly run-commutes with a backpack onfatigued my legs and compromised my biomechanics. Im now nursing an overuse injury in my hip area that was inflamed all of last week. After soliciting some advice, I got ART and massage work done and was also prescribed cross-training. Im going at full tilt with two sessions per day and a rotation of yoga classes (heated to 90 degrees), pool swimming (kick board work too), 1-hour elliptical sessions (with sweatsuit for heat training), lower-body resistance training, myrtl routine , cycling, ActiveX, and LSD runs (long slow distance). I'm happy to report that inflammation and tightness are already gone, so I'll be attempting to get some quality miles in the weekend on the PCT out of Warner Springs.
Last Saturday, I went on a mellow 30-mile ride along the 101 with my buddy Nick and then drove out east to Cuyamaca State Park with my friend Kam to volunteer at the SD100. We hung glowsticks along the trail between miles 58 to 70. We ran the whole way, but stopped often (80 times!) to hang the glowsticks. This completed my trail work required to participate at the VT100. It was pretty cool to be at the event as a volunteer and see how much work goes in to putting on an ultra marathon. I respect all that volunteers, crews, pacers and event directors do for us athletes. It was also a treat to run along the beautiful PCT and encourage the passing runners and their pacers (some solo). They all thanked us for hanging the glow sticks. It was a really cool experience.
Visit my photo site to see the album. Here is my favorite shot from the day:
Im going to attempt to run long this weekend, but I have no idea how peak training is going to play out because of my hip. Ill be sure to post a report next week once Im back from the ActiveX Charity Challenge Endurance Camp . Also, check in next week for more on my "peak training" (And yes, pun intendedyoull see).
After I washed my car, did laundry and fell asleep reading a book in my backyard, I ate some pizza leftovers and geared up for a night run with my friend Meg at Mission Trails . Meg, a local ultra-runner and super-cool mother of three, is running the SD100 next weekend. She needed to dial in one last long night run before her taper, so we ran around the perimeter of the park twice and then added a few more to make it an even 20 miles. It was 10:30 p.m. when we finished, and I was still wired from my day of running 32 miles, so I met up with friends for a hot tub and beers to finish off the day.
Sleeping in on Sunday provided the rest I needed before I met up with my buddy Nick for an easy 10-mile trail run at Los Penasquitos Canyon to put the finishing touch on my 70-mile training week. The run was fun except for running through a swarm of bees! No stings reported, but that was definitely an unexpected first and hopefully a last!
This week I planned on logging another 70 miles for training and finishing with the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon on Sunday, but my hip hurts so I need to play it safe and step my mileage back a notch. Im going to introduce more of this hip and girdle exercise routine called the myrtle routine I learned about from reading James Walshs blog :
Ive been using my data from last years SD100 as the guide for my Vermont 100 training and so far Im hitting similar distances at a quicker pace. This is a good sign that Im on the right track, but Im getting into the heavy build phase now so its time to study the race logistics and get seriously dialed!
My ultra running buddy Eric Lee , who I paced at the end of the 2008 Angeles Crest 100, recently connected me with his friend Pete, who ran the 2008 Vermont 100. Pete and I exchanged a couple emails and his advice was beyond helpful so I asked his permission to re-post his advice here in my blog to share with you all. Thanks Pete!
The map won't help you much. Once you get going you won't have any
idea where you are and there are so many small hills you won't know up
The best race info I found is from this report and GPS:
The route is extremely well marked and easy to follow and the event is
big enough that you'll see plenty of people and horses along the way.
The horses add plenty of bonus trail markers for you too - just watch
Aid station support is excellent. After the first 15 miles that have
a couple un-manned water drops, they have full aid stations almost
every 3 miles.
The 4am start is brutal. I barely slept at all the night before.
Unless you camp out right at the start, you probably will need to get
up and drive at least 20 minutes to the start. There really aren't
any hotels right in the vicinity.
The humidity was the biggest challenge. 10 min before our start, we
had a thunderstorm so we headed out into dripping thick fog. I almost
threw up 30 minutes in. Early morning and at night, prepare to be wet
and it can be pretty cool. Make sure you have waterproof drop bags if
you have clothes or shoes stashed along the way. Even without rain,
the humidity generates heavy dew and will soak everything you have.
One thing that really helped me was keeping my water bottle mixed with
ice and really keeping up with hydration. I also carried a cloth to
wrap up a bundle of ice which I either tied around my neck or just
held and mopped my head, ears, and back of my neck as I went along.
I changed from a regular t-shirt to a tank top at about mile 20. I
was a lot more comfortable with less fabric. Other than 2 sock
changes, I didn't change any other clothing but probably would have
enjoyed fresh shorts and shirts along the way. The one thing I wish I
had prepared for was more body glide at each stop. With the humidity
combined with melting ice on my head, I was pretty drenched all day.
Wet shorts rubbing on your legs is pretty uncomfortable and there were
a few miles I really wish I had a solid coat of body glide to help
prevent chafing. But I managed to finish with all my skin intact.
One thing that I did right that really helped was having multiple fuel
options ready to pick up at each drop bag. It's hard to get down
calories in the humidity and more than a few times I got sick of what
I was using. Fortunately I had backup plans and just switched to
something else that worked and kept going. With aid stations so close
together, it was easy to dump a drink mix and start with something
else or fresh water without going too long without something.
The last couple miles of the course are pretty cruel. They wind you
around in the woods near the finish and you'll think you're there
about 4 times before you eventually just pop out of the woods into the
field under the finish banner.
And I'm not sure what kind of hills you train on but Vermont is a lot
different than Colorado. Here we have big climbs and its easy to plan
your pace and you know when you are the top. In Vermont, most hills
are only a few hundred feet and there are a lot of them. My quads were
completely trashed by mile 70. So for training, I'd recommend a lot
of hill repeats and probably some strength work. You'll need to be
careful to pace yourself on the VT course since it's easy to run a lot
of hills that you should walk.
This advice is priceless and has already helped me visualize what I need to really focus on in training to be ready for on race day. It sounds like the VT100 is a tricky course and might actually be more difficult than the SD100. The description says 18,000 feet of total gain and 18,000 feet of loss where as SD100 had 12,300 of gain. Ill also be running in humidity for the first time, so simulating race conditions in training with more hills and heat training is crucial. Check out the VT100 elevation profile compared to the SD100:
I increased my mileage by 60% last week by re-introducing two days of run-commuting per week into my training schedule. This is the perfect way for me to get those extra hilly miles in during this build phase before peak training in mid-June.
Here are some photos from a hot, hilly training session last weekend at Daley Ranch in Escondido.
I stopped by The Pacific Crest Trail 50 on Saturday at Cuyamaca State Park for some heat (85+ degrees) and elevation training. I averaged a 12-minute mile pace for 25 miles and decided to call it a day without much kick left in my legs from last weekends hard effort. There was no need to throw off my training, so I didnt think twice about taking my first DNF (Did Not Finish) nor do I regret my decision. Heres the data:
Later that night I hosted a super-fun BBQ at my place for 20+ friends and got to sleep in on Sunday for the first time in a month! After catching up on much needed rest, I blew through 10 miles in Penasquitos Canyon at an 8:08 pace and then went out to dinner with my aunts who were in town.
Starting this week, I am introducing run-commuting to my schedule for the next month and a half so I can build up my weekly miles. My commute is 7 hilly miles in each direction. Im shooting to run-commute two days a week, which means 28 extra miles per week!
Tonight Im meeting a small group of folks to run and film the Mission Trails Eco Run 10K course before Sundays race, where I will be course marking, racing and then running home from the race
Here are a few shots I took last Thursday at the beautiful La Jolla Cove:
Another big training weekend is in the books, and Im stoked to be fully recovered from the VMO strain that slowed me down two weeks ago. My
training is on track and the results from my races last weekend are a sign that Im doing something right
On Saturday, I raced the Black Mountain 7K Summit Run , the second race in the Sun Strides San Diego Trail Run Series. The course was 4 miles -- 2 to the top, 2 back down. I lead the race for the first mile with a split of 8:15 and got to the top in 18 minutes and change. My finishing time was 28:31, which means I got to the bottom of the mountain in 10 minutes (a 5 min/mile pace) that was good enough for 5th place overall and 1st in my age group!
Because of my hard effort on Saturday, my legs were nice and fatigued to start the OC Marathon at 6:30am on Sunday where I ran the following splits:
Since I approached the race as a training run with no expectations, I was able to relax and run by feel. Although my splits seemed fast for a training run, I was comfortable and decided that I would simply slow down when my legs got tired. They never did, so I picked up my pace at the end and was able to finish super strong!
The new marathon course was beautiful, fast and fun so I recommend trying to fit itor the half marathoninto your race schedule for next season. Stay tuned for my full race review in the next month with more details about the course.
I went to nearby Laguna Beach after the race, waded out into the cold ocean water and spent the rest of the day off my feet relaxing on the beach. My legs are already good to go but my immune system feels heavily taxed. Ive been here before and trust the process, so I know its simply a matter of time before I adapt to the fatigue, recover quicker and continue to get stronger.
A couple weekends ago I volunteered at the Sunstrides Chollas Lake 5K instead of running because I strained my VMO . It was the perfect day for a running event, and the runners I spoke with said the course was tons of fun. I pitched-in with the set-up, gave out split times, took photos at the 3-mile mark with my buddy Nick, and helped clean up after the race.
The Sunstrides Foundation is a San Diego-based non-profit that uses the proceeds from these races to fund sustainable energy projects in Africa. The founders, Rachel and Mindy, are super-cool ladies doing incredible things. Check out this article for more about them and the organization.
The second race of the three-part series is on Saturday. The Black Mountain 7K Summit Run looks like a quick and challenging effort with a 3.75-mile climb followed by the 3.75-mile descent to the finish. My leg is feeling back to normal so Im going to race After the race, Im heading up to Orange County to run the OC Marathon on Sunday!
A resource for adventure created to inspire. First-hand trip reports, wild stories and ideas for excursions of your own. Questions about gear and trip planning are encouraged. Feel free to offer your stories and suggestions. Active Toby